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State Street’s New Curbless Design

State Street in downtown Ann Arbor is going through a major facelift to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility.
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State Street in downtown Ann Arbor is going through a major facelift.

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is installing a curbless design along the iconic street from William to Washington at the edge of campus. This means the street will be completely flush with the sidewalk from one side of the road to the other.

The move is being made to prioritize pedestrians by improving safety and accessibility.

“This is a very pedestrian-oriented street,” says Maura Thomson, communications manager for the DDA.

In fact, she says a study showed that pedestrian traffic far outnumbers vehicular traffic. Thomson says the curbless design will allow for the most flexibility in how the street is used.

Before construction, there were two northbound lanes on State Street, with parking only on the southbound lane. After the construction is complete, there will be one lane of traffic in either direction, along with some parking on both sides of the street.

However, the curbless design will allow businesses along State Street to introduce café dining and outdoor retailing. It will also support special events.

The design includes many visual cues for drivers to slow down and understand the expected traffic flow.

Thomson says the project’s first phase won’t be wrapped up before homecoming weekend on Sept. 23-24 as the concrete will still need time to cure. That part of the project includes complete reconstruction of the street, streetscape, and intersections with the curbless design from William to North University.

The second phase will focus on North University to Washington. It will be completed during the summer of 2023.

As part of the work, the city is making infrastructure improvements that will allow for better stormwater management. Although curbs are being eliminated, valley gutters will be installed for water to drain.

While the road may not be open for traffic until later this fall, Thomson confirmed the local businesses are still accessible.

“All of your favorite dining and retail spots on State Street will be open for business,” she says.


 For more information on the State Street project, visit peoplefriendlystreets.org. 

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